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What is a Notary Public?

A notary public is a public officer, usually a practising solicitor with at least 5 years of experience who is appointed for life by a State or Territory Supreme Court (or by an English Archbishop in the case of Queensland). A notary public is given powers to witness documents, administer oaths, and perform other administrative functions. Such functions are performed for documents used within Australia but also for documents for use outside Australia.

All Notaries’ seals and signatures are officially recorded in a database held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), who is authorised to issue apostille or authentication certificates certifying that the signatures, seals or stamps of Notaries on documents are authentic.

What does a Notary Public do?

A notary public can:

  • Authenticate official, government and personal documents and information for use overseas
  • Witness signatures of individuals to documents and authenticating identity
  • Witness Powers of Attorney for use overseas
  • Certify true copies of documents for use overseas
  • Deal with documentation for land, property and deceased estates overseas.
Is a Notary Public the same as Justice of the Peace?

A Justice of the Peace or solicitor in Australia may provide similar services however they are not permitted to witness documents for use in foreign countries. Only a Notary Public has this exclusive right.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

You will need to bring proof of your identity such as your original passport and/or driver’s licence as well as the original documents to be authenticated, certified as true copy or witnessed.

For companies where an authorised representative of the company is signing the document on behalf of the company, the authorised representative will be required to not only verify their personal identity but also provide us with evidence that they are authorised to sign the documents on behalf of the company.

Why do I need a Notary Public?

A Notary Public’s primary role is to notarise documents so that they are legally valid and recognised in overseas countries. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Certifying copies and execution of legal and business documents
  • Witnessing affidavits, statutory declarations and other documents
  • Administering oaths
What is an Apostille?

An Apostille is a certificate issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This certificate verifies the signature and seal of the Notary Public that has notarised the document upon which is attached the Apostille.

An Apostille is only needed for documents that are to be used in countries that have signed The Hague Apostille Convention. If a country is not a signatory to The Hague Apostille Convention, the documents may need to be “authenticated” by DFAT after they have been notarised by a Notary Public and then legalised by the destination countries consulate/embassy.

When do I need to have my document attested by an overseas embassy or consulate?

If your document is required for use in a country that is not a non-Hague Convention country, you will usually need to have the document authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and then attested at the relevant embassy or consulate.

Can North Shore Notary help me with Apostille Certificates and Legalisation?

Yes. We can assist you with the process from beginning to end. We can:

  • Authenticate or witness signatures on documents;
  • Present the documents to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for legalisation or an apostille certificate (if necessary);
  • Present the documents to the relevant embassy or consulate for attestation (if necessary); and
  • Forward the documents to your location as necessary.
How long does the process of legalisation take?

This will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • The country the document will be used in – for Hague Contention countries, the process is much quicker as the document is only required to be sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); this process can be completed between 5-7 working days. For non-Hague Contention countries the document will need to be authenticated by DFAT and then sent to the relevant embassy or consulate for legalisation. This process will depend on each country however from our experience, this process takes around 2-3 weeks.
  • Urgency – if you require your documents on an urgent basis, we can accelerate the process although additional fees and disbursements will apply.


What are your fees for Notary Public services?

Until we know what services you require from us, we cannot provide fixed costs however see the pricing page for indicative costs.

To obtain a no-obligation fixed fee quote, please contact us on (02) 9499 9229 or complete the form here.

How can I book an appointment with North Shore Notary?

Simply call us on (02) 9499 9229 or complete the form here.

Do I need to come to your office or can you come to my home/office?

We can if you wish attend your office or home to notarise documents although additional fees will apply for travel time.

Make an Appointment with North Shore Notary Today